Sunday, November 29, 2015

3D printed realistic brain model assisting complex brain surgery

In the past few years, we have seen 3D printing helping medical procedures and surgeries around the world.  Based on CT scans, printed bones to organs such as hearts have all been made to assist physicians. It can be applied to just about any medical field and Dr. Ivar Mendez, head of surgery at the University of Saskatchewan, proved that by 3D printing a brain replica for a complex deep brain stimulation procedure.

The procedure involves opening the skull and inserting electrodes into toe brain folds and a small error can do permanent damage. So Dr. Mendez always carefully prepares using computer simulations, but this time the technology failed him. The limitations of the software became apparent as it could not predict how the tissue would react. That’ why the Canadian physician contacted the University’s school of engineering and assembled a team of experts: engineers, a radiologist, MRI specialists and neuropsychologists. All with the purpose of translating complex brain MRI data into 3D printable files.

             After about seven months of work, they 3D printed an initial prototype in rubber, but that didn’t accurately display the necessary smaller features. Just now, Mendez and his team completed a larger, more detailed model he can work with. ‘You can actually do the surgery. You can actually put the needle in the brain,’ he said of the surgical model. ‘You can get really lost, because you really don’t know. But when you have the model it lets you see exactly where you want to go,’ he adds. 3D printed in transparent synthetic rubber, this brain replica even matches the consistency of an actual brain.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

New Method for Customised 3D printed Medical Devices

A new 3D printing technology enables the creation of medical devices such as catheters for premature newborns customised to each patient. These devices will be stronger and lighter than existing models.
"If you can print a catheter whose geometry is specific to the individual patient, you can insert it up to a certain critical spot, you can avoid puncturing veins, and you can expedite delivery of the contents," said Randall Erb, assistant professor at Northeastern University in US.

“Using magnets, Erb and Martin's 3D printing method aligns each minuscule fibre in the direction that conforms precisely to the geometry of the item being printed. The researchers "magnetise" the ceramic fibres by dusting them very lightly with iron oxide, which, Martin notes, has already been approved by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for drug-delivery applications.”

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Medtech Industry needs to build credibility with Hospitals

McKinsey & Co. released a new report, called "Improving healthcare while curbing cost: Med-tech companies offer a solution", showing that the medtech industry has to, not only build awareness of its products and solutions, but also build credibility among hospitals.

The McKinsey survey 157-hospital executives in the U.S. and Europe, fewer than half ranked the clinical and technical expertise of large equipment manufacturers as "excellent." The result was even worse for makers of devices and consummables. Only 19% of hospital executives responded that large medtech makers' understanding of the hospital business was "excellent."
"With few exceptions, med-tech companies do not offer to share risk with their hospital customers," the report charges. "They focus on marketing the technical features of their products and price accordingly. Yet providers say they are more willing to work with med-tech partners if they know they share the risks as well as the benefits of the arrangement."

       The report suggests that there is a $44 billion opportunity in the U.S. if medtech companies work with hospitals and provide "beyond the product" solutions.  It also points out that executing contractual agreements where medtech companies share risk would help to build credibility.